BEIRUT — The countdown is on for Tripoli MP Ashraf Rifi and his allies
"We must agree by the end of the month on a pool of candidates [for the presidential elections]," said a member of the Renewal bloc on Thursday, speaking from the headquarters of the Lebanese Forces.
The clock to a elect a successor for President Michel Aoun started Sept. 1. The MPs are be tasked to elect a new president by the end of Aoun's term on Oct. 31.
Rifi described the presidential election as "crucial" and called on MPs to approach the deadline in a unified manner.
According to Rifi, the "sovereignists, reformists and forces of change ... [should] agree on a defined pool of candidates who meet the necessary criteria for the rescue" of the country. The former Justice Minister made these statements on the sidelines of a meeting with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.
Last Sunday, the Christian leader gathered several opposition leaders at a mass, which was attended by MPs including Rifi, Michel Moawad, Adib Abdel Massih and Fouad Makhzoumi.
In his speech, Geagea called for the election of "a rescue president" to stand against the camp welded behind Hezbollah, including the Free Patriotic Movement.
According to Rifi, none of the candidates can "be subject to the project of the other camp, be part of those who believe in the logic of sharing the cake, or who sacrifice everything for personal interests."
"The names mentioned must be a factor in the rescue of the country," Rifi continued. He insisted that a choice be made "by the beginning of next month at the latest, so as to move on to the choice of a single name."
"We will agree on a name with all the forces of sovereignty and change," Rifi added, thus joining Geagea in wanting to unite all opposition forces behind a single candidate.